Terms and Conditions [repost]

Rory wants to know the story behind this interesting picture and I don’t blame him. It all began long ago and far away…

demon guarding books

“I do love this house,” Giles told the agent. “Such a large yard and private too. But I’m afraid it’s out of my budget. I’m on a fixed income, you know.”

Samantha nodded. “Yes. They want a retiree. Someone to appreciate the books and art. And to agree not to change anything in the library. They’ll slash the price in half for you.”

“In half!” Giles grabbed the contract from her hand. “Do you have a pen?”

*

A month after moving into his new home, Giles felt restless. Insomnia had never plagued him before, but now he found himself wide awake several times a night, unable to sleep properly. He prowled the rooms, abiding by his promise not to touch anything. Except for the kitchen and master suite, which he’d been allowed to fix up to his own tastes, this was becoming a burden.

Faces in old photos on the walls stared at him, some quite hauntingly familiar. He dared not turn them over to check for info, for he had signed in writing he wouldn’t. But surely he could read a book from the study and put it right back in the same spot afterwards? Giles opened the door.

It was so musty in here, due to the lack of cleaning no doubt. He really shouldn’t have agreed to such ridiculous terms. The place needed a thorough mopping and airing out. Giles spied a frayed book on the history of witchcraft sitting on top of a shelf, not even tucked away. He picked it up.

*

Samantha let the widow peek inside the library. “The seller is willing to reduce the price substantially if you will agree in writing not to touch any of the books and art. He fancies that he lives on in them.”

“Oh, I understand,” Carol smiled. “Artists are so quirky.”

“They certainly are,” Samantha said.

~*~

Image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Rendezvous

romantic toast

I thought it was going to be a beautiful dalliance, the kind you see in old black and white movies, brief but romantic, full of champagne, sunsets, and beach walks. At first, it was somewhat like that with a few fancy dinners and upscale venues. But soon it morphed into a measly taco and soda with a tumble afterwards at a cheap motel. It’s funny how I kept lowering my expectations because I felt invested in that handful of sparkling memories and a dreamy cloud of vague hopes, while trying not to notice that the present moments were rushed and tawdry. An insidious disrespect for each other began to creep into our conversations, since we both knew what we were doing was wrong. Instead of a love story, our relationship turned into one of those DTMA columns I read from Dan Savage.

Fried [socs]

Fried veggies fair food

Today Linda asks us to write about the first word that comes to mind from the last picture we took. I took this shot of my fried veggies at the OC Fair last weekend. These were a mix of mushrooms, artichokes, and zucchini. The first two were delicious, but the zucchini was meh. I also had a roasted ear of corn earlier, which was good, but not as yummy as I remember. As I found a seat with my veggies, I saw a place selling mac&cheese egg rolls and I’ve been thinking about them all week. They’re probably disgusting, but I’d like to try one now. I don’t usually eat fried food, except when I have a migraine. I sometimes get a small pack of fries, which makes my head feel better. Idk why. They also had fried frogs’ legs at the fair ~ at the kiosk where my friend bought a bacon wrapped corn dog ~ and I remembered how I tried those as a kid in NYC, not fried though. They really did taste like chicken. Seems disgusting now, but then so does chicken when you really think about it. My mom burned herself badly once when frying chicken and never made it again. I watched her cut open an aloe plant to soothe her skin. I have a big bottle of aloe for sunburn, but I’m generally too careful to get one. I put on lots of sunscreen before I went to the fair. Pretty much all the food there is fried and/or loaded with sugar, so it’s not gonna be a healthy day unless you sneak in your own food or fast.

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

The Broken Ones [repost]

An emotional vampire
Carefully selects his prey:
His needs are enormous
And his energy limited.
The broken victims
Provide more bang
For the buck
(So to speak);
On these he feeds.
He leaves
Them drained,
Vulnerable, stained,
As hunger rumbles
Through him
Once again.

~*~

Poetry form: free verse.

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Orange County [repost]

Irvine sunset traffic driving

And every good writer has a conflicted relationship with the place he grew up. ~ Marcus Skinner in Orange County

I saw this movie yesterday and enjoyed it. There were a lot of funny moments with Jack Black and the superstar cameos (Lily Tomlin, Chevy Chase). It also had some things to say about Orange County ~ the wealth, the drugs, the surf “culture,” etc. Any sensitive, aware person, writer or no, is going to be conflicted about growing up here, which is why my daughters skedaddled out first chance they got.

But overall, the movie focuses on a young man’s passionate dream of becoming a writer and getting accepted to Stanford. (A famous author, Marcus Skinner, who inspired the protagonist to begin writing, is a Stanford professor.) The protag used his own family as characters in his first story because they’re interesting kooks, and this made his story a standout. But in the classic twist, these same people seem to be preventing him from achieving the rest of his dream: getting out of the OC and going away to college.

I’ve been thinking about the quote at top and if it applies to me, not that I’m necessarily a good writer. I don’t have a conflict with the East Coast, but let’s say I grew up in Illinois (age 13-22). A case could be made for conflict there. I don’t write about that though. My stories (romance or otherwise) always take place in California.

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Red Red Wine

cupcake wine

I used to like to drink alcohol and began early. I had champagne at our neighbor’s apartment when I was 9 and my parents didn’t care (they were there too). The thing I associate most with that night is that the neighbors kept playing “Sugar Sugar” on their record player. My parents never made alcohol a forbidden thing ~ they just wanted me to be responsible with the car after I began driving. Of course, I wasn’t. But TG nothing bad happened. I was lucky, not smart or skilled in this respect. Just lucky.

Like many people, I used to associate drinking with dating and romance. It was normal back in the day (and probably still is, idk) for first dates to consist of a drink, or two or three, and then maybe dinner if we were still getting along, or not. Dinner dates almost always included a drink or a bottle of wine. Weddings and special occasions were booze-fests and still are, I guess. Funny that alcohol is ALSO associated with breakups, grief, and sadness in general ~ and not only in country songs but in real life. Drink when you’re happy, drink when you’re sad. Just keep it flowing.

I sound anti-alcohol, which I’m not. I’m just sad that it doesn’t agree with me any longer, and I wish it did because I enjoy the taste and the buzz. Occasionally, I can have a small amount (very small) with no ill-effects ~ last Saturday I had half a glass of pear ale and was fine ~ but if I have any more than that, I’m pretty much guaranteed a stabby migraine. I miss coming home from work and having a glass of one of my favorite merlots (pictured above) or having a yummy margarita or piña colada in a restaurant. I fell in love with cinnamon whiskey on a date way back when and it would be so nice to have that again (the whiskey, not the date). I also miss Bailey’s Irish Cream, which is fabulous over vanilla or coffee ice cream…

~*~

Image is mine.

Written for Jim’s Thursday Inspiration.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Distraction

bears book

Before I can write, I need to research.

Before I can research, I need a snack.

Before I can snack, I need to shop.

Before I can shop, I need a shower.

Before I can shower, I need to clean.

Before I can clean, I need a nap…

~*~

Written for Six Sentence Story.

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Bubba Sweets [repost]

Bubba1

As promised, I have tried a new cupcakery ~ and it’s right next door in Huntington Beach. Bubba Sweets has kind of an over the top feel, both online and on-site, but that’s okay. They all can’t be Sprinkles. And the price is cool ~ $3 per cupcake or a great deal on 6 for $18. Hey, do the math.

First I tried a vanilla/vanilla, pictured above. See what I mean? Too much pink, even for me. And there was no need for the cinnamon candy deco. The cake was super-tasty though and not oily at all, just moist and delish. The frosting was buttercream (yay!) and a perfect texture/taste combo with that little snap. The sprinkles were a nice touch. Great cupcake.

Bubba2

Next I tried this complicated mango concoction. First let me state that this cupcake had maximum curb appeal, possibly the prettiest cupcake I’ve ever seen. The thing is a freaking work of art! And the cake was simply heaven. HEAVEN! There was a graham crust to die for. The cake itself was dense and rich and nom. Then there was a blob of (NO LIE) cheesecake filling. Omg yummy! But then idk what happened ~ some doofus decided to use whipped frosting. It had no texture, no snap, was just total soft mush. Yucky. The flavor was full of tangy mango goodness, but even so. The (lack of) texture ruined the frosting experience. Plus those seashells? Adorable but they tasted like plastic. This is one case where you’re gonna hear me say: give me the cake and hold the frosting.

Bubba3

Red velvet is up next. I ate this one the next day and sad to say that even though I sealed them away, the last two cupcakes went stale. Unacceptable! (Sam’s cake was excellent for several days.) The cake was tasty despite being slightly dried out, and the cream cheese frosting was totally noms. Yet, I was majorly disappointed that I couldn’t fully enjoy a Bubba’s cupcake 24 hours after purchase. This cupcake was super-pretty as well, despite its ridiculous name of “Rush Limbaugh.” (Whyyy?)

Bubba4

I saved “Coconut Bliss” for last. It had chocolate cake that went stale, as noted above (36 hours after purchase) and a choccy filling that was tasty. The frosting however ~ omg WOW! Wonderful buttercream with a super-rich flavor and loads of sweet coconut. I would have loved this frosting on the vanilla cupcake OR OR OR !!!

THE MANGO CUPCAKE WITH THE COCONUT FROSTING.

Enough said. I think the idea is “out there” now.

Well, anyway. You can’t tell me that some silly old triangle of pie could be this interesting. No, not even with ice cream. Just not going there with you. I may return to Bubba’s to try a couple other flavors, but I’ll need to go on a different day because like many cupcakeries, they do same flavors/same days.

I have to say though that places like Sam’s Club are giving bakeries a lot of competition because it’s tough to want to shell out $3 for a cupcake when you can get 4 for $5 and they are many times just as good.

PS: I originally wrote this in April 2013. Maybe I will try them again soon.

~*~

Images are mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Birds of a Feather

Swans love pair bond

This week, Fandango provocatively asks…

Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?

You can guess my answer by the post title and photo, right? I can only speak for myself and my observations, but I think it is more likely for people to be attracted via commonalities, and that is the key to long-lasting, happy, healthy relationships. I don’t mean that people need to be clones of one another, but if they don’t have a similar outlook on life, compatible values, and mutually enjoyable activities to share, they’re just asking for arguments all along. Now, here is also another interesting observation: some people like to fight. They thrive from that adrenaline rush they get from being upset, yelling, and then making up passionately. Or not making up, in the case of friends, I suppose, but simply moving on to the next disagreement. I see that all the time on social media. But I find it unbearably stressful to interact that way, and more so the older I get. But to each their own, hey?

But guess what? Yep. I seem to have been attracted to men I haven’t been able to get along with because we are too different. This doesn’t happen to me in friendships, only in romances. The friends I have now are board game lovers, for the most part, so we start from there. Most of us also enjoy concerts and movies, though not always the same ones. Since it’s a largish group, there are always a few who are interested in doing a particular activity. Some enjoy hiking and/or traveling, but I don’t, which is fine because there’s always someone up for a movie instead (plus I don’t need to do everything with other people). We don’t all agree on politics, so we generally avoid that topic. Unlike some, I don’t feel the need to constantly voice my opinions on current events and get into fights about that sh!t.

Yet when I used to date, I ended up with men who didn’t like games, wanted to watch mind-numbing TV shows, and were super into sports. Beyond that, our worldviews clashed. I’m a careful person: I like to make plans and stick to them, avoid risk, and think about the future. But instead of dating men with similar qualities, I ended up with a bunch of nutty unreliable risk-takers who didn’t want to commit to anything. Men who were completely stupid with money. Men who craved constant travel. Etc. I even dated a T* supporter once. How crazy is that?

There are plenty of cute stories about opposites attracting and having a wonderful time together. I’ve read a zillion of them via romance novels, and it’s a romcom meet-cute staple as well. But that’s fiction. Unfortunately, my mind was soaked in fiction for so long that I had a difficult time accepting how it was better to date a boring, safe person like myself with similar values rather than an “exciting” opposite. I too felt the “rush” of roller coaster arguments/making up, wheeeeee! But that’s an unhealthy dynamic. I learned too late that I should have chosen differently and now am no longer interested. But I am thankful to have a great group of friends.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Twittering

Sunset birds

I hope you’ll enjoy some of these (lightly edited) poems I wrote to Twitter prompts this year.

Savage need
Ravished me
With unrelenting speed.
Done and undone,
I float unseen,
A stranger to the sun.
Translucent in the dark,
Pieces of my heart
Shatter endlessly.

Dew-frosted leaves
Gift us a living evergreen
Reminder of impermanency.
As love’s summer heat
Fades into autumn mysticism,
Winter on its feet,
Will we watch our breath escape
With our dissipating illusions
And retreat inside our hearts?

Kaleidoscopic dreams
Swirl silently to the sea—
Violet sunflower green;
Love and lust and need
Subsumed endlessly
Under the tide of infinity.

Gossamer veils
Of lace & light
Swirl into silver
Blue midnight.
Forgotten desires
Come to life &
Weave a tapestry
Of complex magic
Across space & time.
Love, once sacrificed,
Awakens to reclaim
Its rightful prize.

I go down to the sea,
Soothed by its serenity
And grace. Layers
Of consciousness float
Away on the waves.
Liberated emotions
Release both pain
And joy. My soul
Clears new space
For the rhythm of tides
And the velvet ribbon
Of the darkest night.

Drunk on plum wine
And strawberry kisses,
I missed the fact
That this was fiction.
A juicy fantasy,
Sweet and sticky,
Seduced my mind…
So delicious.

Mirrors & smoke
Shadows & glass…
Loving you most
Meant loving you last.
Sustained by the dream,
I retreat to the mists,
Loving you always
From one toxic kiss…

Wistful echoes haunt my dreams;
Shadows dance in lonely rooms.
Cascading whispers hint
At promises yet unfulfilled;
Strands of hope weave
A silken midnight fragility.
I shine with the sleepless stars,
Forgetting that dawn will bring
Eternal sorrow once again.

The tides were low
And asked the moon:
Where do you go?
Please come home soon.
Moon turned his face
And hid his smile.
He needed space;
He’d be gone a while.

Heard it said
You’re never dealt
More than you can handle.
Temptation’s gamble
Saw my double down;
All cards on the table,
No ace up my sleeve,
Two Jacks hitting on me…
Should have split then
Cuz the house always wins.

Psychedelic soul
Unmoored from the mind
Dives under the sea,
Dances on starshine.
The further she floats,
The closer she glows,
Embracing the space
Between moments in time.

City of dreams:
Serpentine streets
Paved with glitter
Sure fooled me.
Flip the façades
Upside down—
All those angels
Demons now.
Curdled milk,
Poisoned honey,
Bogus love,
Phony money.

A soul passed who
I didn’t know.
But I feel the glow
Of loving tributes;
His beauty shines
In blues and golds,
Violet hopes,
White angel wings,
The green of spring,
A pink blush of dawn…
His soul lives on
In cosmic colors.

The magic of words
Drew me into your pages:
An elixir of verbs,
Punctuated with rages.
The plot got too twisted,
Motivations unclear.
My point of view shifted:
Our story ends here.

Summer love
Passed me by;
Soft rain dripped
Down tearstained skies.
Blue dreams curled
On warm night sand;
Broken seashells
Slipped through my hands.
Waves of hope
Crashed and faded—
Sunshine romance,
So overrated.

Words that linger in my mind;
Love that loiters past its prime;
All these false starts,
Every smashed dream
Begins with your name
And ends in silence.
The stories we tell now
Fail to describe us;
They float like lost ghosts,
Catching the last light.

~*~
Image from Pexels.
Poetry form: various.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.